Ron stood over the bed and gently nudged his wife. He put his index finger to his mouth and removed the blanket that was covering her. Christine sat up and moved her legs so they draped over the bed. Her shoes were waiting for her where she’d laid them out. Their moment had come.
He took her hand and together, they quietly walked across the room to the door. He had left it ajar so they wouldn’t make noise opening it.
Once in the hall, he motioned for her to follow him to the stairs. They had three flights to descend. Slowly, he took each step with care, praying Stephen wouldn’t wake.
Christine thought she heard something from the room. Looking back, her hand caught a vase sitting on a small table in the hall. They watched it fall and shatter. They stopped, frozen in the moment.
Then, Ron grabbed her hand and began running. Down the first flight of stairs, then another. Only one to go and they would be in the lobby, out in the street. They would be at the subway stairs in less than two minutes.
“Hey, Ron. Where are you guys going?” Stephen was running toward them.
Ron ran faster, pulling on Christine to keep up.
They were outside, running. The stairs leading to the underground were lit with dim lights.
“Stop! You guys stop right now.”
They raced across the street and descended the steps.
“You know where she is, don’t you. You son-of-a-bitch!” Stephen was outside and saw them before their bodies disappeared into the subway bowels. He pointed his gun in the air and shot. “I’m gonna get you guys! You can’t hide from me!”
Ron and Christine reached the bottom of the stairs. Ron turned a full 360 degrees looking for Eve.
“Over here, hurry.” She had heard the gun shot. She knew they must hurry. She pulled at the door to the bathroom and pushed them through. Looking back, her eyes locked with Stephen’s. She stepped inside and pushed her body against the door.
Ron’s expression was full of compassion when he said, “Eve. This is it, he has us cornered.”
She laughed and pulled on the door handle to expose her magic café.
Christine screamed, “Eve, no!”
Outside, Stephen couldn’t believe his luck. He had them. He slowly walked toward the door where they disappeared, his gun in hand.
Then it happened.
A slick black panther walked into the light and stood between him and the door. It raised its head. It opened his mouth and screamed like a woman. Particles of meat hung from its teeth, drool dripped from its mouth. It was saying something to Stephen, something terrifying. It was telling him that he would be his next meal.
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